Thompson honored for aiding ailing vets

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) was recognized Friday, Nov. 1, for his dedication to helping service members, who were subjected to toxic chemicals in the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) secret chemical weapon tests, receive the medical care and disability compensation they need in conjunction with service-related health issues.

Former senior Navy officer and Cal Maritime graduate Jack Alderson, who initially brought the issues to Thompson’s attention, presented the Cal Maritime award. Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, serving all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

“It is an honor to be recognized with this award,” Thompson said, adding, “but I didn’t do it (help the veterans) for an award, I did it because it was the right thing to do. These folks were abandoned after battle.”

In 1998, Alderson contacted Thompson, who he knew through his work in the Humboldt Harbor District, and told him about a top-secret DOD project he and numerous colleagues had been a part of in the 1960s. The project, under the umbrella of military work known as Project 112, was created under President John F. Kennedy during the Cold War to improve the military’s knowledge of and tactics using chemical weapons.

“These were the first air hot tests of chemical weapons,” Alderson said.

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